burning like matchsticks in the face of the darkness|
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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
|ris'n with healing in his wings
I was catching up on Saint Nicholas Is In Hull on my GoogleReader the other day, and a section of one entry
jumped out at me:
Then she asked me, "I am... have you ever even healed anyone?"
My response was, "Well... I can't say that I have."
I kind of blinked.
I feel like my response would be, "Well not in the sense that a doctor does... but I have sat with people in pain, I have provided a safe place for people in crisis..."I believe I have mentioned before that I love Julia Kasdorf's poem "What I Learned from My Mother."
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.
Today, I was catching up on sermons at First Church
In her July 5 sermon "Healing...on One Foot"
(Mark 6:1-13), Kerrie Harthan posited that we are all healers, and I was so glad to hear that after reading that blog entry.
She also said, "our gospel message isn't about escaping, it's about being liberated -- it's about engaging."
She also shared an interesting thought from her spouse, Gloria, about being inspired by movements rather than individuals -- at least not until they are dead, so we can be sure they will not betray us. And also, "sometimes when a leader goes away, so does the teaching."
***How To Practice
(Mark 6:30-34) Rev Laura Ruth Jarrett preaching, July 19, 2009
There's some stuff here I want to come back to again and again.
I wonder, how did Jesus came to belief. Did he believe in God, or Judaism out of the shoot because, well, he was God? Did he believe in himself? But how did he learn how to marshall his energies, when to rest and retreat? When he was healing folks, how did he learn to let out the right amout of power so that folks were healed but not raptured or slain? How did he know when to raise someone from the dead (if we believe he did) and when to let folks lie moldering. How did he know or handle the fact that folks thought he was the Messiah? How do you learn how to do that, be the Messiah?
Another practice that maybe you thought was a commandment: you shall not commit adultery. Not committing adultery is hard! It takes spiritual practice not to step out on your partner! Some of us prefer the thrill of indiscretion to the centered, patient, kind, sometimes painful, sometimes dull, working out of relationship, or the careful dissolution of relationship that no longer works. What we learn from relationships, we learn about ourselves and about our relationship with God. So, practice fidelity in relationships, a kind of fidelity you and your partner work out. It takes practice.
Don’t lie. Figuring out how to tell the truth takes a lot of practice, telling truth not as a weapon, but as a means of being in relationship – letting your yes be yes and your no be no. Hard, work! Not a thing done perfectly, or instantly. It takes a lot of practicing. Once we stop being attached to telling what we wish were true, we can become free. This is what Jesus teaches, the truth will set us free.
But also spiritual practice leads us into belief, belief that little by little, or maybe very quickly, causes us to understand truths too large to be contained by our puny, valiant, striving, resilient, market saturated spirits, truths that attempt to be explained by the metaphor of Trinity, or virgin birth, life that does not end. Here is a spiritual practice. Try not to limit the work of God. Try not to make the vast mystery of God small. Try not to get tripped up by other people’s metaphors. Have patience and let God be revealed to you, allow yourselves to be opened. This is my prayer for you.
Catching up on TransEpiscopal blog, I read
And obviously, if you have been following this blog, by now you know that at this Convention we made stunning progress on transgender issues. As we look back on the work of this Convention, I think it will be important to see this progress in the larger context of the forward movement via D025 and C056. But I also think our progress was part of the spirit of openness and relationality, and indeed of intentional, focused storytelling that were themes of this Convention (not to mention humor, as several bishops displayed during their session Friday). The spirit of the indaba groups that were featured at last summer’s Lambeth Conference also feels connected to this trend. People were careful not to demonize one another in their disagreements. People attended to one another’s humanity. Those of us who testified on the transgender related resolutions benefited from and, I hope and believe, contributed to that spirit.
And that is as it should be. That kind of attentiveness to one another’s humanity is at the heart of the Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal Church, which asks, “will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” and “will you strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being?” The answer to these questions may seem easy, but sometimes they are not — which is why the response given in the Book of Common Prayer is “I will, with God’s help.” This Christian life we are about is a spiritual discipline that we all pledge to take up upon entry into this beloved community. And I know in my very gut that when we live into that discipline, when we do, with God’s help, we grow. Advent approaches indeed.
I've encountered a bunch of baptismal/membership covenants recently (attending ordinations and such), and my reaction is often, "I cannot vow that," but that one I could, that one I want to.
A "when loves come to town" blog entry I read recently (the first in an "Everything belongs..." series
) included a YouTube embed of Bob Franke singing "For Real," and I pulled it up and listened to it this afternoon.
"let's be kind to each other -- not forever but for real"
I was struck by this as I had spent much of this afternoon sitting (metaphorically) with a beloved, praying "God have mercy."
There's a hole in the middle of the prettiest life
So the lawyers and the prophets say
Not your father nor your mother
Nor you lover's gonna ever make it go away
And there's too much darkness in an endless night
To be afraid of the way we feel
Let's be kind to each other
Not forever but for real
I forgot about the ending verse:
Some say that God is a lover
Some say it's an endless void
Some say both, some say she's angry
Some say he's just annoyed
But if God felt a hammer in the palm of his hand
Then God knows the way we feel
And love lasts forever
Forever and for real
Love lasts forever
I thought first of recent discussions about what religion means to different people
and second of Catie Curtis' song "The Big Reprise."The previous entry on "when loves comes to town"
included an embed of Alison Krauss And Robert Plant performing "Down to the River to Pray."
Rest and Bread
We gather this evening for at 6:15 for communion and prayer. We're reflecting on sheep tonight, how we are like sheep, and Jesus the shepherd. Come be gathered in.
We have music for meditation at 6. You may come at 6 to pray.If you'd prefer to come at 6:10 or 6:14, and even if you're late, don't worry about disturbing us. We don't mind you coming in when you're ready, because we're glad to see you.
[FirstChurch Mailing List] an act of vandalism in Watertown, a call for witness
The Watertown UU Congregation's rainbow flag was torched. I don't know more details than that, other than to say, that no physical bodies were hurt.
The Watertown congregation has asked for a gathering in Watertown Sq. on Saturday, July 25th at 6 PM. After gathering, we will march to the church, about three blocks away, and reinstall the flag.
The FCS Marching Band will go to lend a hand and to bear witness. Will you come, also?
Between now and then, please will you remember and pray for those who, everyday, must decide how to react in a world that cannot behold their entire humanity. While this prayer may include each of us sometime, I particularly think of Professor Henry Louis Gates, and all who have been taken out of their homes in handcuffs.
May we share the solidarity we crave.
Although we don't know the circumstances of those who burned the rainbow flag or the circumstances of Officer Crowley who arrested Professor Gates, please, may we pray for them, also?
May we share the compassion we crave.
Yours, in solidarity and compassion,
Before service, Laura Ruth asked how I was, and I said, "I'm a little tired, but I'll be okay." (I knew she had service prep to do, and I would lift up my prayer concerns at the appropriate time during the service.)
Later, she said, "You're a good egg, sister girl."
Psalm 61 ("Lead me to the rock that is higher than I")
I loved how she talked, really lovingly, both in our pre-service prayer (I was helping her lead worship, as Keith was away) and in her Reflection, about the incident with Prof. Gates and about calling us to be our best selves. In her Reflection, she talked about how God seeks us, picks up and puts us on his shoulders -- "or embraces you in a way that would be more comfortable to you."